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Card company shows Manning, Tebow in new jerseys

By Pat Graham

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 22 2012 4:45 p.m. MDT

Newly-signed Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning holds up a jersey during an NFL football news conference at the team's headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Tuesday, March 20, 2012.

The Denver Post, John Leyba) MAGS OUT; TV OUT, Associated Press

DENVER — Football fans don't have to wait until the season to see Tim Tebow or Peyton Manning in their new uniforms.

Bowman Football, a branch of Topps, will soon launch a line of trading cards featuring Tebow in a New York Jets jersey and Manning donning a Denver Broncos uniform. The packs of cards will hit store shelves in May.

The images have been retouched to reflect the changes for the two popular quarterbacks. Tebow's card shows him in the middle of a pitch, wearing the green and white, while Manning's picture displays him standing tall in the pocket and looking downfield, a Broncos logo emblazoned on the side of his helmet.

Vice president for sports Mark Sapir said the company waited until the last moment to render the cards because, "We wanted them to be timely."

"It's important to capture the sport accurately, which is why we're doing everything we can to get the players in their new uniforms," Sapir added.

Manning was one of the most coveted free agents to hit the market in a long time. And once the four-time MVP picked the Broncos over other suitors earlier this week, it set the stage for Tebow's exodus.

The Broncos dealt the incredibly popular and polarizing quarterback to the Jets for draft picks late Wednesday night. But not before briefly flirting with Jacksonville, just to see what offer the Jaguars might bring to the table for Tebow.

The back-and-forth drama made for some anxious moments for Sapir, who was eagerly waiting to see just where Tebow landed so his company could begin production.

"Literally, as soon as the Tebow announcement was made, there were emails made back and forth, doing everything as quickly as we can to make sure we get that card for football fans," Sapir said.

The Manning and Tebow cards will be printed on a limited basis.

"These cards are going to be a big deal," Sapir said, "and they're going to be super valuable."

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